There’s something a bit magical about this historic regional town in the dark, cold months – and this is exactly what the Ballarat Winter Festival seeks to capture.
All through July, the Gold Rush town will come alive with food and wine events, gigs and performances, an ice rink, eerie ghost tours and (our particular favourite) a Winter Wonderlights projection art festival at Sovereign Hill. The festival will include more than 40 events, and it's anticipated around 100,000 visitors will visit the city during the month-long festival.
You can celebrate all things spud at the Ballarat Potato Festival on Saturday July 1, then taste the hops, ales and liquid gold at the Ballarat Brew Festival on Saturday July 22. Other highlights include hot chocolate tours, pop-up markets, beer tastings, winter trivia nights, truffle forages and feasts as well as arts and culture gallery exhibitions and performances from Renee Geyer, Bullhorn and more.
For families, there will be ice skating, indoor go-karting and an extensive school holiday program. There's also the Winterfest community markets on Friday July 28, where you can find quality crafts, produce, food and plants, with funds raised going to YMCA's Open Doors program that provides financial assistance to disadvantaged families accessing health and recreating opportunities.
You can check out the full program on the Ballarat Winter Festival's website.